Renegade Geese from Hell!

05.25.2005 | 8:45 am

A Note from Fatty: This post, originally published May 25, 2005, is part of my “Rescue Fatty’s Old Stuff from His MSN Spaces Archive” project — back from before I had my own domain. Weekend by weekend, little by little, I’ll eventually get it all moved over.

I really like the bike route I have to work. The good people of Redmond and Sammamish have done an excellent job of making bike-friendly roads, not to mention some great bike paths.

Each morning as I bike down E. Lake Sammamish Blvd, I’ve got beautiful houses and trees on my right, and a gorgeous lake on my left. Not to mention a 6-ft-wide road shoulder (in good condition, even!) to keep me from being squeezed by traffic.

Then, as I cut across Marymoor park, I’ve got the road to myself for a few minutes as I look at all the cool facilities this park has — a public velodrome, a climbing wall, an off-leash dog park, a model airplane flying park, and a huge number of fields for baseball, soccer, etc. Nice.

But then, as I turn onto the bike path paralleling W. Lake Sammamish Blvd, I get to the one part of the ride I truly fear: The geese.

I don’t know why, but the geese — dozens of them — all want to sit on the bike path. And they have claimed it as their own. They poop all over the path (goose poop is about the same size as cat poop: not trivial). And they do not rush to get out of the way, slowly ambling as I whoop and holler to clear a path.

And this time of year, it’s worse. Much, much worse. For the geese now have goslings to protect. Where the adult geese are normally just apathetically belligerent, now they are protective and easily angered. They do not move off the path until all their kids are off the path, which can take a good, long time. And if you get too close, they’ll hiss in a surprisingly terrifying manner. If you ignore that, they spread their wings and — I assume — attack, pecking out your eyes with their razor-sharp bills. (I’m talking hypothetically in this last instance, because I’ve always chickened out and backed down once they get to the open-wing stage.)

Someday, these geese will get their comeuppance. I will be brave and ride a straight line down the center of the path. I will not brake. I will not coast.

Then they’ll probably gang up and kill me. And I will be in the paper with the tragic headline:

Local Fat Cyclist Dies in Goose Attack

I can think of more embarrassing ways to go. But not many.


  1. Comment by Keith | 02.7.2009 | 9:09 am

    The geese are still there.

    It’s not the geese on the ground that scare me, it’s the flocks flying overhead. More than once I’ve heard the wet splat of a fresh goose turd land dangerously close to me while riding along the Sammamish River Trail. They’re not terribly accurate, but they’re practicing, and I know someday they’ll hit their intended target. Me.

  2. Comment by Aaron | 02.7.2009 | 9:30 am

    Does THIS look familiar?


  3. Comment by Linda | 02.7.2009 | 9:33 am

    I have a similar situation when I enter my office parking lot and the first time I tried to ride through the group thinking they would just fly off like birds…wrong. I learned my lesson!

  4. Comment by stuckinmypedals | 02.7.2009 | 9:54 am

    I’ve been pooped on while riding, thankfully by a much smaller bird. Geese and their incessant hissing scare me a little, but it’s the turkey vultures that truly terrify me. Last weekend I was chugging up a hill at such a slow pace that a turkey vulture actually circled me. Talk about motivation to pick up the pace!

  5. Comment by Di | 02.7.2009 | 9:59 am

    I do have a lot of respect for geese. I won’t mess with them. If I were to see a bunch of geese on the trail, I’d waste no time turning around.

    We were chased by a grouse, one spring. That thing was pretty serious. Fortunately for me, it was more interested in my riding partner. :-)

  6. Comment by Aunt B. | 02.7.2009 | 10:19 am

    You’ve never truly lived until you are riding uphill on a narrow track behind a scared cow with diarrhea. Goose poop is for girly men.

  7. Comment by Argus | 02.7.2009 | 10:28 am

    I know what you mean Fatty. Here’s a tiny sampling of one trail I like early in the spring.


  8. Comment by Heidi | 02.7.2009 | 10:45 am

    And you failed to mention that unlike cat poop, goose poop is mighty slick stuff…

  9. Comment by Keith | 02.7.2009 | 11:35 am

    @Aunt B:


  10. Comment by Zyzzyx | 02.7.2009 | 11:55 am

    Ah yeah… geese. I’m over in eastern Washington, in Richland, right on the Columbia. Its a haven for birds year round. And the geese, the damn geese. I’ve only been here two years, but it already seems like there’s more of them. We’ve got a very nice path along the river in Pasco, but there’s a section of it generally referred to as ‘Goose Poop Alley’. Bleah… And folks wondered why I had fenders on my bike year-round, when we hardly get any rain here.

    Not as bad now, I’ve got an enclosed Quest velomobile, no sliding, no flinging, and a lot more presence on the trail when facing down the geese. Oh, and the electric horn helps too. :)

  11. Comment by jb | 02.7.2009 | 11:57 am

    I wanted to just tell you that I love your blog…I really love this blog. I’m so happy I found it.

    As for geese, well this summer, biking to work, on the only trail I can find that takes me off the road, so that I don’t get my ass killed by stupid drivers….I instead run into a bunch of freaking geese that have taken over this trail.

    Well, I wiped out and landed in geese crap…oh and by the way sliding into a freaking geese isn’t fun. I thought that bird was going take my head off…lolloll thank god I was wearing my helmet. Love your blog you have a new fan.

    Ride On Fat Man

  12. Comment by Bander | 02.7.2009 | 2:32 pm

    It could be worse:

  13. Comment by JMD | 02.7.2009 | 4:36 pm

    That’s where those birds go in the winter!

    They spend fall on our cross country trails. And no they don’t move for us either. I can’t imagine if they had little babies, that’s scarry!

  14. Comment by Myrnie | 02.7.2009 | 4:45 pm

    Ah, good times…those silly geese. They descended on my playset when I was a kid. Took an hour to hose it down after their 15 minute “flight break.”

  15. Comment by Darren | 02.7.2009 | 5:44 pm

    Ditto for 8 mile path loop around Art Museum in Philly….goose central…and (they are apparently) proud of it.

  16. Comment by Tinker | 02.7.2009 | 8:11 pm

    Ehile I was stationed at Charleston Navy base, we took my daughter to feed the Geese at a local park. My daughter was 2 or 3 years old, and had not done this before. She got to the park, and took the bread bag in her hand to feed them, and was immediately surrounded by a sea of EYE-LEVEL Beaks around her.

    Being quite sensibly, she ran. Not realizing they were actually chasing “The Bag”, it didn’t help. By this point we were yelling “Throw the bag”, throw the bag” (geese are v. v. noisy, we found), and after a few seconds attempting to avoid the feeding frenzy, she complied, flinging the bag and hitting one of the larger (and more aggressive) pursuers right in the beak. After it was all over, she spoke bitterly of the geese, for a long, long time. (We took her back later, and gave her slices of bread, and it was a much nicer experience, but she still said, “Bad geese”, with considerable venom, every time the topic arose.)

    It didn’t help much that we were laughing so hard as she ran. I think she still bears quite a grudge, and when she picks out a nursing home, she will remember it was her mother’s fault.

  17. Comment by Mike Roadie | 02.8.2009 | 5:31 am

    Be glad you don’t ever get THESE in your path……I am not sure about their poop, though.2735720232

  18. Comment by Don | 02.8.2009 | 9:26 am

    I think it’s also important to point out that geese poop also has the same consistency as axle grease, and also is about as hard to get off of the underside of your downtube as said grease. Never mind it getting shot up in your face…

  19. Comment by Al Maviva | 02.8.2009 | 9:57 am

    You haven’t taken the pie plate off your rear wheel, have you?

  20. Comment by Vince | 02.8.2009 | 12:34 pm

    Yeah, when I lived in Campbell CA, goose poop was a big problem…the birds are huge…not little cute birds like on tv. And that funny smell I could never figure out in the bedroom? Finally turned out to be a piece of goose poop on the MTB tire. What…doesn’t everyone store their bikes in the bedroom?

  21. Comment by Don | 02.8.2009 | 3:07 pm

    @Vince… seems normal to me…

  22. Comment by Joe | 07.22.2010 | 8:34 pm

    I used to have the same experience biking to culinary school in Boston. As soon as I crossed the Boston University bridge into Cambridge, I was immediately assaulted by an angry gaggle of geese. As I recall, they had claws, spiked feet, and devil horns. This was only certain months of the year, of course, but the alternative was a hellacious six-mile ride through two feet of snow and ice on an ultra-thin fixed gear with virtually no treads. The geese were more frightening.


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